"He also who is slothful in his work is brother to him who is a great master" (Prov. 18:9).
Laziness is a sin.
It's also annoying. And ineffective in leadership.
The fact is, however, many of us have some lazy tendencies when it comes to leadership. I do at times. This is as much an inward reflecting post as an outward teaching.
Please understand, I'm not calling a leader lazy who defaults to any of these leadership practices listed. The leader may be extremely hard working, but the practice itself—I'm contending—is lazy leadership.
Here are seven examples of lazy leadership practices.
1. Assuming the answer without asking hard questions.
Or not asking enough questions. It's easier just to move forward sometimes—and sometimes it's even necessary to move quickly, but many times we just didn't put enough energy into making the best decision. Often it's because we don't want to know or are afraid to know the real answer. It is the lazy way of making decisions.
2. Not delegating.
Again, I'm not saying the leader is lazy. But this part of their leadership is lazy. It's easier many times just to "do it myself" than to go through the process of delegating. Good delegating takes hard work. You can't just "dump and run." You have to help people know the vision, understand a win and stay close enough in case they need you again. New leaders are developed, loyalty is gained and teams are made more effective through delegation.
3. Giving up after the first try.
No one likes to fail. Sometimes it's easier to scrap a dream and start over rather than fight through the messiness and even embarrassment of picking up the pieces of a broken dream. But if the dream was valid the first time, it probably still has some validity today.
4. Not investing in younger leaders.
There's the whole generational gap—differences in values, communication styles, expectations and so on. It would be easier to surround ourselves with all like-minded people, but who wins with that approach—especially long-term?
5. Settling for mediocre performance.
It's more difficult to push for excellence. Average results come with average efforts. It's the hard work and the final efforts that produce the best results. But, the experience of celebrating when you've done your best work is always worth the extra energy.
6. Not explaining why.
"Just do what I say" leadership saves a lot of the leader's time. If I don't have to explain what's in my head—just tell people what to do—I get to do more of what I want to do. But, I'd have a bunch of pawns on my team and one disrespected, ineffective and unprotected boss (leader). (And, being "boss" is not a good leadership style by the way.) Continual vision casting is often the harder work, but necessary for the best results in leadership.
7. Avoiding conflict.
No one likes conflict. Not even those of us who don't run from it. But, you can't lead effectively without experiencing conflict. Every decision a leader makes is subject to agreement and disagreement. It's why we need leadership. If there was only one direction who needs a leader? To achieve best—the very best—we have to lead people beyond a simple compromise, which makes everyone happy.
"Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise!" (Prov. 6:6, NLT).
If you've been practicing lazy leadership, the best response—as to any sin—is to repent, turn away and do the hard work of leadership. You and your team will benefit greatly.
Ron Edmondson is the senior pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky.
This article originally appeared at ronedmondson.com.
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